RKO Bushwick Theatre

1396 Broadway,
Brooklyn, NY 11221

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Showing 151 - 175 of 444 comments

MPol on December 19, 2008 at 9:11 pm

Hi again, Panzer65. You’re welcome. Thanks for the compliments. Boston does have some nice movie theatres. The AMC Theatre in Harvard Square used to be a single-screened revival movie house, where they played a lot of double-feature revivals, and, every six months, there’d be a big update in the Boston Phoenix, telling which movies would be playing there on which date(s). Among the movies I saw at the Harvard Square Theatre before it was bought out by Lowes and then by AMC were In the Name of the Father, Around the World in 80 Days, my alltime favorite film, West Side Story, and a number of others. It was a cool theatre…often crowded, but, hey….I miss those days.
However, I’m more than grateful that the Brattle and the Coolidge are still around.

Panzer65 on December 19, 2008 at 8:53 pm

Boston does indeed seem like a great place to catch a movie,thanks for the excellent descriptions of the theaters there MPol.

MPol on December 18, 2008 at 1:29 am

Thanks for your replies to my questions, Bway, Louis Rugani and Panze65. There are afew modern multiplex movie theatres in the city here in the Boston area, but most of them are out in the suburbs, just off the big state and/or interstate highways.

AMC (Formerly Lowes) Boston Common and the AMC/Fenway are two urban multiplex movie theatres., and there’s also AMC Theatre in Cambridge’s Harvard Square, as well as the Kendall Square/Landmark Cinema, in Cambridge’s Kendall Square. There used to be an AMC in Somerville’s Assembly Square, but that closed down almost 2 years ago. When that particular theatre closed, AMC bought it, but for some reason, they didn’t want to keep it, so it’s closed, even though the building’s still standing. Here’s hoping they build a theatre in the Asssembly Square’s AMC’s place that doesn’t play the same schlocky films as most everybody else, if one gets the drift.

The Somerville Theatre in Davis Square and the Coolidge Corner Theatre in Brookline, MA are also multiplexes, but they’ve retained their movie-palace character. Hope they stay up forever. The same thing with the Brattle, which is a single-screen movie theatre, with a balcony. Here’s hoping it stays up forever, too.

PeterKoch on December 17, 2008 at 10:15 pm

Yes, Panzer, I remember that Sunrise Highway Drive-In very well.

Panzer65 on December 17, 2008 at 9:06 pm

A lot of the newer Multi -Plex’s in the outer reaches of the city do well, prior to the economic crisis ,such as the Sunrise in Nassau County, which incidentally,was formerly a Drive In.

Bway on December 17, 2008 at 7:44 pm

Mpol, I can’t speak for all urban areas, but In the NYC area there are plenty of “modern” multiplexes.

LouisRugani on December 17, 2008 at 4:47 pm

A few new movie palaces are being built, mostly in the suburbs. As an example, there’s the MUVICO in Rosemont, Illinois.

MPol on December 17, 2008 at 4:00 pm

hi, Panzer65.

Thanks for your reply. Which type of theatre(s) are you referring to when you say that the more modern theatres are thriving well in many urban areas due to our tanked economy? The multiplexes? Just curious, because, from what I understand, many, if not most of the multiplex cinemas here in the United States generally are located in more suburban areas, in somewhat more secluded areas just right off of the big interstate highways.

If, you’re referring to the movie palaces (what few are left here in the United States), then, I think that many, if not most of the remaining movie palaces, are located in urban areas.

Correct me if I’m wrong, Panzer65.

Bway on December 17, 2008 at 12:51 pm

Moondog. I am sure graffiti may hit the theater sometimes, as with any building, which may have been what happened when the google maps people went by, but its usually removed promptly. I have been by the building as recently as this past November, and there was no graffiti on it, and am by almost monthly, and really never noticed any. That’s not to say it never happens, but is usually removed soon after.
But that all being said, the street view images are great, and I estimate them to be from last Autumn and Summer for most of Bushwick’s streets, and that grafitti is most definitely not there anymore. It seems that some kids had gotten on top of the scafolding there.
But anyway, here’s a ground level photo that I took this past March 27, 2008 of the RKO Bushwick Location. This is AFTER the google street view images were taken, which were taken August-October 2007:

Click Here for March 2008 Image

Panzer65 on December 17, 2008 at 12:20 am

Thank you for your reply concerning preserving old movie palaces.
I do agree mult- plex theaters are nowhere near the experience of attending a film at a traditional theater, one gets a sense of being in an extraordinary venue,while enjoying the great American pastime there. However from what I hear, prior to the unfortunate
demise of the economy, these modern theaters do thrive well in many urban areas.

MPol on December 16, 2008 at 5:52 am

That’s right on the money, Panzer65. They not only want to raze beautiful old movie palaces and buid condos or stores, but multiplex cinemas as well. (However, I’m not sure of how well multiplexes will do, given the fact that a number of them have piled on debt, etc., )

Moondog on December 16, 2008 at 2:23 am

Google has revised its website. If you go onto Google Maps and type in 1396 Broadway Brooklyn NY then click on the “street view” box in the lower right it will walk you right up to the theater. Notice the construction walkway on the B'way side of the theater. Don’t know if they’re planning renovations or just preventing old facade from coming down on pedestrians. (You’ll also see quite a bit of graffiti on that side of the building).
This website is especially great if you want to visit your old block.

johndereszewski on December 16, 2008 at 1:46 am

I think the fact that the Bushwick is being positively used as a school helps ensure that it is well maintained and that any defacement is promptly addressed and corrected. This is a great win – win situation.

Panzer65 on December 16, 2008 at 12:16 am

Amazing how beautiful an old theater can look when it receives “Tender Loving Care”. That’s why its such a crime that all this society wants to do is raze them and build condos or stores.

Bway on December 15, 2008 at 8:34 pm

Yeah, I have no problem getting out of the car in Bushwick. It’s not the neighborhood it was in the 1980’s, or even the 1990’s.
As for the theater, I have gotten out here many of times, as sometimes when I am in the area, I often grab a quick lunch the McDonalds next to the theater. the condition of the theater is good, it looks just as good on ground level as it does on the upper levels seen here. There’s no graffiti or anything on it, or even near it.
It probably hasn’t looked as good as it does now since the 50’s….but of course, it’s interior is all gone.

PeterKoch on December 15, 2008 at 7:43 pm

I think Bway has gotten out of his car quite frequently in the daytime in Bushwick, but I’ll let him post for himself on that.

PeterKoch on December 15, 2008 at 7:32 pm

Yes, indeed. I know what you mean, but the expression “drive by shooting” has unpleasant connotations in Bushwick, though I appreciate your humor !

Such an act of photography by Bway would be the BEST kind of “drive by shooting” !

PeterKoch on December 15, 2008 at 7:23 pm

I’m glad to see that it does ! Hopefully, it hasn’t yet been defaced with graffiti at street level.

PeterKoch on December 15, 2008 at 7:17 pm

Thanks, Warren, for that info.

Bway, that’s a beautiful new image from nycsubway.org ! It almost makes the former RKO Bushwick Theatre look like a Greek temple !

Bway on December 15, 2008 at 7:08 pm

A pretty good view of the RKO Bushwick Theater can be seen in this photo taken from the elevated Gates Ave station:


Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on November 25, 2008 at 5:43 pm

The original entrance foyer had two boxoffices on opposite walls. One was for that day’s performances and the other for advance purchases.

Bway on November 25, 2008 at 5:31 pm

Yes, and the marquee was still there in the Believer’s footage too. You can also get a quick glimpse of some of the interior, which was already in pretty rough shape by 1979 when the film was made. The seats were still there though. They may have also “roughed” the interior up a bit for the scene too. It was a scene where there was a human sacrifice on the stage of the RKO Bushwick, when the cops arrive.

LouisRugani on November 25, 2008 at 11:17 am

The foyer with its poster cases can be seen in ‘The Believers’ (1979).

Bway on November 25, 2008 at 3:21 am

I don’t know if it’s been posted here before, but I have seen that image. I believe that is a photo from after it closed as a theater, but also may be from just after the Pilgrim Church also left the theater after it’s very short use of the building. The Pilgrim Church for some reason left the RKO Bushwick when the Loews Gates Theater became available, and they remain in the Loews Gates to this day, which has been restored. Perhaps they got a better deal on the Loews Gates…who knows….but either way, once they left, it sealed the fate of the RKO Buhwick, which began it’s nearly 3 decade progression into shambles before being gutted and converted to the school it is now around 2003.

ebeach on November 24, 2008 at 11:03 pm

Thanks Warren. Those plans sure help my memory quite a bit. Do you know to what level of the theater those staircases reached? Mezzanine, Loge, Upper or lower balconies?